A small act of kindness can be all that’s needed to shift perspective and restore your faith in the good people of the world. It’s incredibly meaningful to have kindness extended to you or to witness it play out in another’s life without the giver expecting anything in return. After such an extended period of isolation and uncertainty, kindness is the lifeline that reaches deep within and heals with a single gentle touch. There is truly so much you can do to show others that we’re all in this.
The other day I was at a coffee shop with friends. It was early on a monday morning and my first class of the week. I found that I was unable to pay by tapping my card and didn’t know the pin as I so rarely use it anymore. I knew I had the code written down and close at hand but needed a moment to collect my thoughts. The lady behind me noticed my embarrassment and told the cashier she’d like to pay for me. I said thank you and let her know how moved I was. It would’ve only taken a minute for me to access my pin but she was insistent I accept her gift. I knew at that point that the both of us would receive joy from her spontaneous act of kindness. There truly are complete strangers out there who will recognise you in your time of need.
All collective experiences have the power to bring out either the best or worst in us. When we band together and be that helping hand for another person, we grow in our capacity for empathy and understanding, learning along the way a useful tool across the board. Let yourself be encouraged by these acts of kindness and pay attention to what calls to you. Take the time to share the love at home, in your neighbourhood and out in the greater surrounding communities.
These kindnesses all require a sharing of yourself with no strings nor ulterior motives attached. Perhaps that looks like vulnerability for you. It can indeed be confronting to lean towards the outer edges of your comfort zone and help someone. Don’t let fear of being seen defer you from spreading light when it’s needed most. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to help another person, choose an act of kindness for yourself. Once your cup has been filled, let resonating energy radiate outwards and touch all those you come across in subtle and large ways.
Acts of Kindness at Home
Refill a jug with filtered water and add fresh lemon or lime slices to add zest. Then, store it in the fridge and enjoy crisp, cool, naturally flavoured water later on. Let it parch everyone’s thirst, especially on hot days.
If you don’t usually make dinner, plan a nutritionally balanced and delicious meal to share with family. Try out that mouthwatering recipe bookmarked in your favourite cookbook. Offer to cover clean up duty afterwards.
Take a walk around the block with a sibling, coworker, parent or friend. Find a local playground for them to explore or have a casual heart to heart as you take in the scenery. If you’re unable to meet in person, give them a call to show that they’re on your mind. Turn on facetime if possible. A smile and a wave can turn a bad day around.
If you’re able to sew, patch any well worn and loved items of clothing for family members so nobody has to buy new unnecessarily.
Exercise patience and understanding with someone who is a beginner at what you’ve accomplished, whether that be drawing, baking or learning to whistle.
Support a local small business that sells your essentials over a big box chain store.
If you live with friends or roommates, pick a crowd favourite recipe and cook a large enough meal to share with them.
Give your sibling a genuine compliment, especially if you’re caught in the typical dynamic of rifts and fights being common. Take the time to build up a relationship that will carry you through life and be of utmost importance.
When you run out of an everyday grocery item like milk or eggs, start a grocery list with that on it. This will make the next person’s job easier when they head to the shops.
If you have family members working at home, tidy up their work area by wiping down surfaces, clearing smudges off their device, recapping pens and replacing a burnt out candle. Take any plates or cups to the sink. Take care not to throw away anything important.
Take the time to bring a glass of water to the people at home with you. Remind them to stretch, stay hydrated and keep balanced.
Send a note to your teacher, the family babysitter or other caretakers who make everyday life more ease filled.
Offer to help with a cleaning task that looks to be arduous and time consuming.
Put a thank you note outside for your postal worker to see.
Unload the dishwasher once you notice that it’s sparkling clean.
Wipe down the sink after you wash your face and brush your teeth so the next person doesn’t dirty their clothes.
Practice active listening- instead of focusing solely on what you’ll say next, make eye contact with loved ones and seek to truly hear what they are saying. Listen to understand, not just to respond.
Memorise the way your family members take their tea or coffee and make them the perfect cup. If you’re out and about, remember their drink order and pick up a beverage for them at a local cafe.
Acts of Kindness for Friends and Neighbours
Create a small community library in different spots across your neighbourhood. Stock it with books you have enjoyed but no longer read and watch as others choose books and swap them out.
Call your local council to discuss an issue you see at play in your neighbour that needs a solution. Ask to see what action is currently being taken to protect everybody. Perhaps you’re seeking to counter racism, homelessness or pollution- the list is endless.
Conversely, feel free to reach out to a local representative who is taking community feedback in stride and ensuring everybody has a chance to be heard. Thank them for the impactful work they do and commend their drive to keep campaigning, even when it’s difficult and seems unrewarding.
Next time you bake cookies for yourself, make a double or triple batch and drop off extras to your neighbours, family and friends.
Leave a beautiful bunch of fresh, seasonal blooms on a friend’s doorstep. Natives always look gorgeous.
Write down important dates in your phone’s calendar to remind you each year. That way you’ll never forget a birthday, anniversary or wedding and will be able to share in the festivities.
Offer to cancel or rain check on scheduled plans if the person you’re meeting with seems overwhelmed.
Tell a friend or family member you are thinking of them and sending prayers and well wishes.
If you’re well established and can afford to, help an individual with something you do professionally. Teach people to make spreadsheets, do some basic home maintenance, tutor a student.
If somebody gets interrupted, spoken on top of or plain overlooked during a meeting or hangout, find a way to speak up and circle back to them so they can be a proper part of the group.
Share a supportive message on a friend’s social media post or timeline.
Choose a friend or two to receive a gift card to their favourite lunch spot.
Take pictures of the adventures you share with others and make sure they realise you value their company. You could also offer to snap a picture for a lone traveller or couple.
Ask a friend who is particularly bogged down how you can help. Are there any phone calls you can make for them or errands they wish for you to run? Make a conscious effort to shorten their to do list.
If you’re heading to the grocery store, text your neighbour to see if there’s anything they forgot to pick up and would like to have on hand.
Offer to spend time with the children of a couple you are friends with so they can have a date night. Do some crafting, read bedtime stories or put together a puzzle.
Write a supportive colleague a recommendation or letter of referral.
Make an uplifting spotify or apple playlist for your friends to stream. Include a variety of genres of music.
Offer to share your streaming service login with a trusted friend or family member who may be struggling financially.
Offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn, shovel snow for them, rake leaves or trim bushes whilst you take care of your own yard.
Contact an old teacher to let them know how influential they were in your younger years and the long lasting impact their class had on you.
Give a cherished coworker time in the spotlight by sharing the ways in which they’ve helped you in front of your manager, fellow employees or the whole team.
Be mindful when crossing the street. Keep an eye out for pedestrians who seem distracted and overly excited kids.
Clean up loose litter as you go on walks and recycle where possible.
Write a letter of affirmation to your grandparents or an elder in your community. Help them remember just how sharp and valued they are!
Stand in as accountability buddy for a friend who needs it. Whether they wish to stick to an exercise routine, read a lengthy book or take on life sober, change is easier made when you have support and backing.
Spend time with somebody in your life who lacks an adequate social network. Ask them how they’re really doing and make sure they know they can be honest. Promise to listen quietly without judgement and don’t immediately rush to being a fixer upper.
Offer vacation or sick days to coworkers who might need it more. Perhaps they’re adjusting to having a new family member or are dealing with sickness and loss.
Send a book, movie or show recommendation to a friend who has the same taste as you. Tell them you’d love to discuss it afterwards and share thoughts.
Order a book you think a friend would like and annotate it for them. Book Depository has some incredible budget options.
Help a friend who has been wanting to curate their closet but feels lost and sentimental. Help them create keep and donate piles.
Offer friends your lightly used clothing that no longer fits or isn’t representative of your style.
If you use online therapy or meditation apps, buy a friend or family member who is curious a subscription. If you’re unable to spare the cash, direct them to a free trial or sign up for a referral program. That way, you can earn points too!